Don Rush

Assoc. Program Director- Sr. Producer News and Public Affairs

Don Rush is the News Director at Public Radio Delmarva (WSCL/WSDL) in Salisbury, Maryland on the campus of Salisbury University. He has spent the last 35 years in broadcast journalism specializing in national politics. Before coming to Salisbury he spent 12 years in Washington DC with the Pacifica Network News bureau. During the 1980’s he was News Director at KFPK in his home town of Los Angeles. He also worked for the Los Angeles based wire and audio news service CNS/RNW. Locally, he has become an award winning journalist covering everything from development and environmental issues to local politics.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A bill to place a three-year moratorium on fracking in Maryland survived eight amendments and is headed to a vote in the House of Delegates.

On Monday, the Protect Our Health and Communities Act dodged attempts by House Republicans to change the legislation and make it easier for fracking to start in western Maryland. Currently there is no fracking in Maryland.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - The state House is set to vote on a bill updating regulations regarding Delaware's medical marijuana program.

The legislation to be voted on Tuesday defines the membership of a nine-member oversight committee that will evaluate and make recommendations regarding implementation of the program.

Under the bill, which passed the Senate earlier this year, two members of the committee will be medical professionals with experience in medical marijuana issues, and three will be individuals who have qualified to use medical marijuana.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A bill to repeal mandatory minimum prison sentences for certain drug-related charges has cleared the Maryland House of Delegates.

Supporters said the bill would give judges more freedom to determine an appropriate sentence for someone found guilty of certain drug charges. Delegates passed the measure 85-55. 

Bill sponsor Del. Curtis Anderson, a Baltimore City Democrat, said the measure allows judges to consider drug treatment for a person, rather than having current law dictate how long they must sentence someone to time behind bars.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - The state government is joining private businesses in launching a website promoting Maryland fishing and hunting opportunities.

The Maryland Office of Tourism announced the website Monday. It's called www.fishandhuntmaryland.com .

Cecil County Tourism Coordinator Sandy Maruchi-Turner says the website was created by a public-private coalition, the Sportsmen & Women's Marketing Initiative, after a survey last year indicated many people elsewhere were unfamiliar with Maryland hunting and fishing opportunities.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Republican Gov. Larry Hogan and members of Maryland's congressional delegation say they are unified in their efforts to draw a new FBI headquarters to the state.

Hogan and congressional members held a news conference Monday in Annapolis after a meeting. Maryland's congressional delegation is comprised of Democrats, except for Republican Rep. Andy Harris.

Hogan and Democratic leaders are pledging to work closely together to bring the headquarters from Washington to Prince George's County.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Members of the Maryland House of Delegates have passed a bill they voted down late last week.

In an 82-58 vote, the delegates reconsidered and approved legislation that adds a Maryland court filing surcharge to support judiciary technology projects.

Baltimore City Democratic Del. Luke Clippinger made the motion for the reconsideration. He said a number of people in the Democratic caucus were able to get more information on what the bill did and its impact on the judiciary's budget.

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WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. (AP) - A rocket carrying student experiments is scheduled to be launched this week from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

NASA says the experiments were developed by undergraduate students at Virginia Tech, the University of Colorado, Northwest Nazarene University, the University of Puerto Rico and the University of Nebraska.

The NASA Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding rocket is scheduled to be launched on Friday between 6:45 a.m. and 10 a.m.

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Parents at the Stephen Decatur High School are calling for the resignation of the school’s wrestling coach.

Attorney Thomas Maronick who represents three members of the team says they are complaining about the coach kicking them off the roster after alleged drug abuse.

The complaint drawn up in February claims the coach Todd Martinek accused the three of smelling like pot and said he would drop them from the team if they did not tell who was smoking the alleged marijuana.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Gov. Larry Hogan and members of Maryland's congressional delegation will be outlining the state's federal priorities.

The governor has scheduled a news conference for Monday afternoon in Annapolis.

One priority the governor has already met with delegation members is to relocate the new FBI headquarters to Maryland.

Maryland is competing with Virginia for the new complex, which would be home to about 11,000 jobs.

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Woody’s Diner has been declared a historical landmark in Delaware.

The restaurant in Selbyville has been called the oldest and best preserved Silk City dining car in the state.

It was originally owned by Woody Sturgis but sold to the Doyle family in 1983.

The manager Brandon Doyle told WBOC that aside from replacing the vinyl seating from time to time the dining car had not changed much over the years.

He estimated that 75-to-80 percent of the place was still the original.

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ABERDEEN, Md. (AP) - A U.S. military medical unit is returning to Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland after overseeing mobile Ebola testing laboratories in Liberia for four months.

Monday's homecoming ceremony honors the 22-member 1st Area Medical Laboratory. The unit commanded a joint task force that ran six labs.

The unit's commander, Army Col. Patrick Garman, said last month that the soldier-scientists tested more than 4,500 samples of suspected Ebola.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - A Presbyterian church in Wilmington held a joint ordination ceremony this weekend for a lesbian couple.

The joint ordination of Kaci Clark-Porter and Holly Clark-Porter took place Sunday afternoon at First & Central Presbyterian Church.

Church members believe the two women are the first same-sex couple ever to be ordained jointly by the Presbyterian Church USA.

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WASHINGTON (AP) - It may be the first day of spring, but the mid-Atlantic region is getting another round of winter weather.
 
The National Weather Service issued winter weather advisories in effect through Friday afternoon from western Maryland to northern Delaware and in some Washington suburbs.
 
The weather service says snow accumulation by 8:30 a.m. ranged from a trace near nation's capital to 3 inches in Frostburg, Maryland.
 
The snow is expected to turn to rain in the afternoon.
 

Don Rush

Maryland state leaders could be close to a compromise on Governor Larry Hogan’s proposal to reduce the runoff of phosphorus from farms into the Chesapeake Bay.

WBOC reports that the regulations would divide farms into three tiers based on the amount of phosphorus in the soil.

There would be a 20 member advisory board that could weigh in on whether the farmers are making enough progress or need more time.

The panel would include environmentalists like the Chesapeake Bay Foundation as well as agricultural advocates such as the Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc.

Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland House of Delegates has passed the state's $40.4 billion budget.

The House voted 129-10 Thursday for the budget bill, with 89 Democrats voting for the measure and 40 Republicans. Ten Republicans voted against it.

The House also voted 122-17 for a companion bill needed to balance the budget.

The bill restores education funding that had not been as high as Democratic lawmakers had been hoping for in Republican Gov. Larry Hogan's budget. The House also restored a 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment for state employees.

Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Senate is nearing a vote on ending state-mandated stormwater management fees.

A vote could come Friday on the bill, which is sponsored by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller.

Currently nine counties and the city of Baltimore pay the fees, which critics call the "rain tax."

The bill would not require counties to charge a fee to meet federal stormwater requirements to clean up pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. However, they would have to show they can meet the requirements.

There will be no new charter schools in Delaware for the moment.

Governor Jack Markell wants to develop a strategic plan that would take into account the student needs.

Markell said the questions to be reviewed might include how to meet the needs of the growing number of students whose second language is English.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that once the review is finished the state can then develop a plan for the school system.

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It takes millions of dollars to keep the sea level rise at bay for NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

That’s what Caroline Massey, the Flight Facility assistant director of management operations told the Accomack County Board of Supervisors this week.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that an estimated $9 million has been sunk into protecting key structures against sea level rise.

Some estimates put that rise at 6 feet or higher.

Massey noted that the facility suffered $3.8 million in damage after Hurricane Irene.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Baltimore delegates are weighing in on a bill that would create a pilot program for police behavioral health units.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam, is on the delegation's Friday's agenda.  It was approved by the Senate 46-0 and is scheduled for a hearing before a House committee next week.

Don Rush

NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - A panel exploring how to make Delaware's revenue portfolio less unpredictable and more reflective of economic conditions is taking a close look at the state's reliance on abandoned property collections and lottery revenue.

Friday's meeting of the Structural Revenue Review Committee includes a background examination and outlook at the abandoned property, or escheat system.

The panel also will look at the bank franchise tax system, as well as lottery and casino gambling.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Bowing to pressure from Democratic lawmakers, Gov.  Jack Markell's administration has agreed to delay proposed health care cost increases for state government workers and retirees.

A state panel was set to vote Friday on proposals for new or higher deductibles, and higher copays for drugs, lab tests, outpatient surgeries and hospital stays, aimed at addressing an estimated $60 million deficit in Delaware's state health insurance plan.

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There will be no one-day general admission passes for this year’s Firefly Music Festival.

The reason: Sales have been very strong since early March.

The festival in Dover which runs June 18-to-21 will feature Paul McCartney for his first appearance at the concert venue.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that normally the single day passes are available as long as the multi-day passes are not sold out.  

In previous festivals a single day pass could be purchased on the day of the show.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland House of Delegates is scheduled to vote on the state's $40.7 billion budget.

The vote is expected Thursday afternoon.

The House has made room in the budget to restore education funding that had not been as high as Democratic lawmakers had been hoping for in Republican Gov. Larry Hogan's budget. The House also restored a 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment for state employees.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Members of Delaware's congressional delegation are applauding the Obama administration's challenge to Indonesia's restrictions on agricultural imports.

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman has asked the World Trade Organization to establish a dispute settlement panel to examine Indonesia's import restrictions on a wide range of agricultural products, including poultry.

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Mayor Jim Ireton and Wicomico’s NAACP Chapter president Marty Ashanti said they opposed legislation in Annapolis that would allow for an elected school board in Wicomico County.

During a state Senate hearing the Salisbury official said there has been little community input with only one public hearing on the proposal.

If approved the measure would present the question of an elected school board to the voters during the general election next year.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Death penalty opponents in the General Assembly say they plan to reintroduce legislation to abolish capital punishment in Delaware.

The legislation, which was discussed at a news conference Wednesday, mirrors a bill that passed the Senate in 2013 by only one vote before dying in a House committee.

The legislation would remove execution as a possible punishment for first-degree murder, leaving life in prison without the possibility of parole as the only sentence for that crime.

Don Rush

Ocean City is has put the final touches on restrictions on smokers who come to the resort.

The measure would keep smokers back along the dunes.

For those on the Boardwalk they cannot light unless they are within 15 feet of an ashtray.

The fine for breaking the law would be $500.

On Monday the town council gave its approval by a 5 to zero vote.

There would also be designated smoking areas which could be changed by the council.

Local resident David Murdock told the Salisbury Daily Times that the issue for him was the danger of second hand smoke.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A newly released court document describes what former Virginia first lady Maureen McDonnell would have said had she testified in her husband's public corruption case.

The affidavit from her lawyer says she would have testified that she hid vitamin executive Jonnie Williams' gifts from her husband because she figured McDonnell would make her return them.

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - The governor of Virginia is calling for an investigation into the arrest of a college student who was shown in a photo with his face bloody as he was held down by an officer.

Charlottesville General District Court records show that Martese Johnson is charged with obstruction of justice without force and public swearing or intoxication. The Alcoholic Beverage Control agent who made the arrest, listed in court records as J. Miller, said in the arrest report that Johnson "was very agitated and belligerent."

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Environmentalists are criticizing an official from Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe's administration for supporting federal legislation they say will hurt efforts to curb pollution from coal ash, a coal combustion byproduct.

Several environmental groups said they were upset that a McAuliffe administration official testified Wednesday before a U.S. House subcommittee in favor of a bill backed by electric utilities. Republican U.S. Rep. David McKinley of West Virginia is the bill's sponsor.

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